Palm Springs Repower Wind Energy Center

Palm Springs, CA

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Project Description

The Altum Group provided planning, environmental, engineering and survey services for the repowering of an existing wind farm located in the San Gorgonio Pass in Palm Springs, CA. Services included research and feasibility, entitlement, final design and construction. The project proposed decommissioning 89 Kenetech KVS-33 (360 kW) wind turbine generators (WTG)s, and replacing them with 29 General Electric (1.5 MW) WTGs. By replacing these aging WTGs, the project was able to increase performance, producing 43.5 MW (instead of 32.0 MW), lower costs, achieve higher reliability, and longer service life. In addition, the project provided business activity and economic benefit during construction, and additional tax revenue to the City of Palm Springs

Project Challenge

The Palm Springs Repower Wind Energy Center Project encompassed 738 acres, divided into eastern and western blocks (or sites). Both sites required variances for height and setback, a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) from the City of Palm Springs, Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) approval, Coachella Valley Conservation Commission approval due to the CVMSHCP, and biological coordination for sensitive burrowing owl nests during construction. The western block was adjacent to the Whitewater River and required a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Right of Way Grant by approval of a Plan of Development, a jurisdictional delineation, as well as coordination and approval by the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD). The eastern block was also bisected by high voltage overhead lines that required additional coordination during construction.

Project Solution

The Palm Springs Repower Wind Energy Center Project was carefully designed in collaboration with multiple jurisdictional agencies and multiple environmental and site conditions in mind. The new site design incorporated much of the previous design to minimize site disturbance. Environmental constraints, such as the jurisdictional limits and burrowing owl nests, were identified on the improvement plans and acknowledged in both design and construction, through on-site monitoring. Scour depth was determined by the drainage engineers and wind turbine foundations were designed to meet these requirements. Throughout the process, The Altum Group managed a detailed schedule that addressed the complexities of multiple jurisdictional approvals.